Monday 20 August 2018

Believe it or not, Nate Diaz has been saying some pretty nice stuff about Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor submits to a choke-hold by Nate Diaz at UFC 196 in Las Vegas last
month. Photo: Getty Images
Conor McGregor submits to a choke-hold by Nate Diaz at UFC 196 in Las Vegas last month. Photo: Getty Images
Conor McGregor, right, trades punches with Nate Diaz during their UFC 196 welterweight mixed martial arts match in Las Vegas. Conor McGregor has packed a punch on social media rather than inside a UFC cage. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison, File)

Tom Rooney

You can be sure that he will be far from this genial as their rematch at UFC 202 draws closer, but for now, Nate Diaz is being oddly complimentary of Conor McGregor.

Of course, late last night on Conan, during Diaz’s appearance, McGregor appeared via video link and didn’t exactly return the favour but the American remained admirably staid.

Having won their initial bout so conclusively, via second round rear naked choke at UFC 196 in March, perhaps the Californian feels there is no need for verbal jousting with the SBG man.

They are, in many ways, polar opposites; McGregor has attained incredible wealth, fame and status in just over three years, while Diaz, over the course of a decade with the UFC, has largely remained a cult figure struggling for pay cheques that matched his sacrifices.

Well, until he was belatedly matched with McGregor that is. Having been called in for a makeshift welterweight contest as a late replacement for then lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC 196, Diaz earned a career best, life-changing windfall.

Moreover, that he thoroughly demolished the Dubliner in front of the world, only added to his notoriety and popularity in MMA and beyond.

With UFC 202 just three weeks away, the native of Stockton is set for another massive payday, the kind that only comes your way when paired with McGregor.

It was put to Diaz recently what he thought of the Crumlin coxcomb rubbing shoulders with the likes of Jenifer Lopez, Rhianna and, most recently, Cristiano Ronaldo.

According to him, McGregor’s hobnobbing with Hollywood A-listers and bona fide football legends is a sign that their shared profession is moving in the right direction. 

 "They (celebrities) should be hanging out with him (McGregor)," Diaz told Fox Sports.

"He’s fighting in a cage, in front of the world, in front of a lot of people. It’s cool he is representing for the people who are putting in a lot on the line."

"There’s a lot of good coming from fighting. You fight, you win, you do good, everybody loves you. And then you get in there and fight, you lose, and get your head kicked in, and besides it hurting, you get laughed at and people make fun of you, too. So that’s a lot to put on the line."

"So it’s cool when big stars and big people come and appreciate that, so he’s doing a good job with what he’s doing."

McGregor and Diaz are scheduled for a five round welterweight main event on August 20 in the Las Vegas T-Mobile Arena, the winner of which, should he prevail decisively, may be rewarded with the first shot at recently minted lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, who is on record as saying he’d gladly fight either man.

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